I’ve interacted with more people in the last few days than I have in the last few months. For an introvert that’s a big deal. I’m pretty sure I spend more time conversing with my dogs than I do any humans that I know.
And I’m okay with that. I used to think I was weird or I had a problem or something was wrong with me. All because I prefer to be alone. Not so much anymore.
But there are times – usually coinciding with holidays – when I must spend time with actual people. Like face-to-face. Like I get instant feedback to what I’m saying. Like I have to focus on what someone else is saying for extended periods of time.
It’s okay, just breathe. I survived. In fact, I’m probably better off for the interactions because it gave me more raw material with which to work. It also let me in on how some people’s minds work.
The theme of these recent interactions seemed to be people pleasing. Being so concerned about what other people would think that they couldn’t say no or tell people how they really felt. It was pointed out to me that I’m not like that. I’m forward. I don’t have a problem telling people what I think.
There was a time when I would have been offended – hurt even. In the moment I wasn’t sure how to take it, but looking back on it now, I’m cool with it. Because I spent a lot of time living my life for other people and was miserable every minute of it.
I was made to feel like there was something wrong with me because I didn’t fit in. Because I ‘marched to the beat of a different drummer’. Because I spoke my mind.
So I tried to fit in – everywhere. I tried to make people like me. I tried to make everyone happy. It was exhausting.
I learned fairly early that it is impossible to please everyone all the time. Hell, I can’t even make myself happy all the time, nor do I want to. Happiness is very overrated. Contentment, stability, calmness – now those are things worth working toward.
Being totally comfortable in my own skin and mind – that is another goal I would truly like to achieve. But the only way that will ever happen is if I stop trying to please everyone around me. If I stop trying to make everyone like me and everything I do. If I stop giving a damn about what other people think about me and my life.
So me, being me, I passed this tidbit of information along to those with which I was speaking. I also mentioned that all of this is possible without being rude or condescending. You don’t have to be mean about it, although sometimes it comes across that way.
I’m not sure how well received this advice was, but that’s on them…
It’s amazing how much less stressful life is when you figure out that the world and everyone else in it are not your responsibility. Their happiness is not your responsibility.
At the end of the day, as long as we know we’ve done our best, haven’t hurt ourselves or others, and we can live with our choices, our decisions, our life no other opinion matters. And vice versa. Oh, there’s always a catch…